HC Deb 27 February 1919 vol 112 cc1981-2W
Colonel DU PRE

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) whether he is aware that dissatisfaction exists in Slough and the neighbourhood owing to the different rates of pay prevailing at the works at Cippenham, whereby local labourers consider they are unfairly treated; and whether he will introduce flat rates for all workers, local or imported; and (2) whether building mechanics employed on the works at Cippenham who live outside a three-mile radius are paid £5 8s. per week, while those who live inside that radius are paid £3 15s. only; whether labourers are paid £4 5s. 9d. and £2 19s. 1d., respectively; and whether he will state how these amounts are arrived at and what is the reason for the difference?

Captain GUEST

The amounts mentioned in the second question as paid to workmen at Cippenham are approximately correct. As the supply of local labour does not suffice to man the work it has to be reinforced by London workmen, whose rates are higher than those of local men. The rates paid and the nett wages for the fifty and a half hours' week which is now being worked are as follows:

Rate per hour. Nett Wages.
s. d. £ s. d.
Local mechanic 1 4 3 15 9
London mechanic 1 9 4 8
Local labourer 1 2 19 3
London labourer 1 5 3 11

The difference between the foregoing wages and the money actually paid to the workmen is due to allowances for travelling time, lodging money, and railway fares. Rates and allowances are settled by conciliation boards of employers and workmen, or by arbitration, and the War Department has no authority to alter them. The local workmen are now raising the question of their being paid the same rates as the London men, and if pressed, this again is a matter to go before the Conciliation Board or to arbitration. There appears to be no trouble as regards the extra allowances, all classes of workmen being treated equally in respect of these.